A great toast is to New Year’s Eve what mistletoe is to Christmas. Whether you are quietly ringing in the New Year with some close folks at home, or getting fancy and hitting the town, up the warm-and-fuzzy factor by raising a glass to your company. Making a toast is a nod to those you are with and if you are hosting, it is a lovely gesture to your guests.

First, do a pan of your crew to ensure everyone has a drink in-hand. Water or mocktails will do just nicely – a toast isn’t a reason to put frat boy-like pressure on someone to pound back drinks. No occasion is, actually, but I digress.

Once you’ve surveyed the scene and everyone has a bevvie, get their attention. Depending on your setting, you can do this could by simply standing, moving into a more visible area, or gently clinking a knife against your glass.

Keeping your glass raised (chest-height is perfect), make your intentions clear and brief, “Thank you for coming tonight. I’d like to raise a glass to….”

Toast to a thing: a person, a place, an activity, or if you’re stumped, the upcoming year will do in a pinch. Say a few words about your subject (kind ones, please and thank you) then raise your glass higher and finish with repeating the toastee. Your co-toaster will follow suit as I’m sure it isn’t their first time at the rodeo: they’ll raise their glasses and repeat your subject.

In formal settings or very large groups, it is common to forgo clinking glasses and take a drink after glasses have been raised. In more casual settings, clink away (etiquette purists might frown upon this but I say go for it) . Either way, keep eye contact with your company as you sip. (psst….here is a good standby that you are welcomed to borrow, “May you live as long as you want. And never want as long as you live”.)

Questions, comments and conundrums are most welcome at www.twitter.com/schoolfinishing

~ Karen Cleveland